US markets closed near new highs last night as health-care shares rallied on a smaller than forecast cut in Medicare rates. The S&P ended the day 1 point below record closing highs, hitting a record intraday high. Health-care stocks such as Humana Inc and UnitedHealth Group received the biggest percentage gain with Humana jumping more than 10.6 percent.
Although economic data hasn’t been as good as you would expect, the harsh weather has been blamed with investors hopeful the economy’s recovery is still on track. The Conference Board (CB Consumer Confidence) will announce latest household confidence levels at 15:00 GMT today to give investors an idea of how consumers are feeling. Confidence is a leading indicator of consumer spending and could have a direct impact on retail stocks.
The FTSE is indicating a cautious open with futures indicating an 8 point lower open. Despite the recent overnight rally, European investors seem less enthused by the price action in the US. Headline currencies remained little changed whilst crude trades slightly lower after being pushed towards the top of their trading ranges recently.